Discover the History of the Philippines

History of the Philippines The archipelago of the Philippines was set 30,000 years ago during the Indonesian and other migrations. Other migrations happened in the next millennium. As time went by, the political and social organizations went through evolution and development in different islands. The settlement’s basic unit was the barangay, which means communal settlement in Malay. In the tenth century, A.D., the coastal villagers were able to accommodate the Chinese settlers and commerce., then the Muslim traders came. It was the Mongoloid descent who were the first inhabitants of the Philippines, and there are still a lot of them today. Islam gradually spread from Borneo and into the central and northern islands, then the Spanish Christians were already there to intercept it.


Spanish Invasion

Ferdinand Magellan was the first-ever European to arrive in the Philippines. It was March 1521 when he first set foot in the Philippines while he was circumnavigating the globe. He went to claim the land on behalf of Spain’s king, but then a local chief killed him. There were several Spanish expeditions after that, but the first permanent settlement was at Cebu in 1565. After the Muslim ruler lost, the Spanish made Manila their capital. The name of their new colony got its inspiration after King Philip II of Spain. The Spanish were to acquire a big share in the spice trade, have better contacts with Japan and China, and convert more people into Christianity. Only their third goal was successful, and like in other Spanish colonies, the church and state are inseparable to carry out their objectives.

It is Spain’s government that developed Filipino agriculture that it became self-sufficient. After trying to be independent, Filipino Nationalists spoke out. At that time, the most well-known was Jose Rizal. He took up medicine at the University of Santo Tomas and finished at the University of Madrid. He had two novels that were about Spanish rule abuses. They had to smuggle books into the Philippines, and people read them. Jose Rizal was given a sentence for execution on December 30, 1896, and it is when he made his proclamation that the Philippines is “the Pearl of the Oriental Seas.”


Katipunan Secret Society

Andres Bonifacio founded Katipunan with a mission to attack the Spanish Garrison, but they did not succeed. Emilio Aguinaldo led the Katipuneros in Cavite, and they won against the Guardia Civil in Cavite. The victories of Aguinaldo were enough reason for them to vote for him as Katipunan’s new leader. The Bonifacio and Aguinaldo factions fought and were later taken to trial. After that, the constitutional draft was done by Aguinaldo, and it was the birth of the Republic of Biak-na-Bato in Bulacan. In 1897, there was a Spanish government impasse between them and Aguinaldo. After negotiations of both sides, Aguinaldo took an amnesty from Spain and $800,000.00. This was in exchange for his exile to Hong Kong. When he was in Hong Kong, and this time was when he and his compatriots design the Philippine flag that Filipinos use today


The American Era

While the Philippines was fighting to gain independence, Cuba, which was also under the Spanish colony, was trying to free itself. However, Cuba had the support of the United States. When the US battleship, USS Maine, sank in the harbour of Havana, an imminent war between the USA and Spain that begun.

The USA’s war declaration with Spain was on April 25, 1898, and the U.S. Asiatic Squadron’s commander, Commodore George Dewey’s mission was to attack the Spanish navy in the Philippines. The Spanish fleet was under attack by Commodore George Dewey on May 1, 1898, from the USS Olympia ship. The battle only took place for hours in Manila Bay, killing all the Spanish fleet. The American fleet only went through minor damage.

Their war was put to a stop by the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. However, the government of America was only there to acquire the independence of Cuba. The Treaty gave Cuba its independence, and Spain gave up the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the USA for a total of $20,000,000.00. Since America has a history of colonial revolution, their opinion was not welcome, and it was split on the morality of owning colonial dependencies. The USA was accidentally able to acquire the Philippines and was unsure of what to do with it. President McKinley had to assign the Schurman Commission to recommend what to do. This was on January 20, 1899.


USA Rule

There were two phases when the USA was the Philippines’ ruler. The 1st phase was from 1898 to 1935, which is when Washington had to define their colonial mission was a tutelage while preparing the Philippines for independence. There were political organizations that quickly went into development, and the Philippine Assembly was chosen, and the USA chose the Philippine Commission. One of the significant developments that emerged during the post-World War I was resistant to elite control by tenant farmers. The Socialist Party and Communist Party in the Philippines supported.

In the 2nd phase of the USA ruling from 1936 to 1946, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was started and the Japanese occupation in World War II. The legislation that the US Congress passed in 1934 provided a period of 10 years to transition into independence. In 1934, the first constitution was framed, which the plebiscite approved in 1935. Manual L. Quezon became the president of the commonwealth. Quezon died in 1944 in exile, and President Sergio Osmena preceded his term.

Japan attacked the Philippines on December 8, 1941, and its invasion of Manila was on January 2, 1942. They set up an independent republic, but it had an opposition underground. Then, there was a guerilla activity that grew in large proportions. The Hukbalahaps was the major resistance in Central Luzon. The allied forces of Hukbalahap invaded the Philippines in October 1944. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese surrendered.


The Republic of the Philippines

Manuel Roxas from the Nationalista Party won as the first President of the Republic of the Philippines. He passed away in April 1948. Elpidio Quirino was the next president, who also had to deal with the Hukbalahap. Eventually, President Quirino’s Secretary of Defense, Ramon Magsaysay.

Magsaysay won against Quirino in the 1953 elections. He was famous and had a lot of love from people. Magsaysay died due to a plane crash on March 17, 1957. Carlos Garcia succeeded in his term. Diosdado Macapagal won the 1961 presidential elections, and then he declared June 12 as independence, which changed the course of history. This was also when Emilio Aguinaldo made a declaration of Cavite’s independence from Spain in 1898. Aguinaldo became a guest of honour when the first Independence celebrations were held in 1962.


The Philippines During the Martial Law

Ferdinand E. Marcos won in 1965 as president of the Philippines, and he is the first president who won another term. Marcos implemented his ambitious public works, which made him very popular throughout his first term. When he became president again, his popularity was dwindling because of dishonesty accusations in his 1969 campaigns. It impacted economic growth and corruption in the government, and it was no longer very peaceful. In 1972, the declaration of Martial Law took place before his 2nd term ended. Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was his opponent and went on exile to the USA later on. Senator Jose Diokno and Senator Aquino were caught. During Martial Law, Marcos had the military’s support. Leaders of the opposition were sent to prison, and the legislature was no longer exists. Marcos’ ruling was based on a presidential decree.


Post-Martial Law

In 1986, the 21-year dictatorship ruling of Marcos with his wife Imelda ended. It was because of an uprising that forced them to go into exile in Hawaii. Benigno Aquino’s wife, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, who won by snap elections, became the next president. She restored the congress, formed a new constitution, and restored civil liberties.


Beyond the Aquino Years

In 1992, Fidel Ramos became an official president after President Aquino’s endorsement as her successor when he won the elections. He won by just a few votes over Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Ramos worked to build and overcome divisiveness during the Aquino years.

Joseph Estrada – He was the vice president of Fidel V. Ramos, became extremely popular and won the presidential elections in 1998. Within just a year, his popularity sharply declined due to the allegations of corruption and cronyism. Joseph Estrada also failed to fix the problems of poverty. In 2001, Estrada had to go through impeachment because the investigators accused him of accepting bribes from illegal gambling businesses.

Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – She was sworn as Estrada’s successor after his impeachment. Her position became legitimate because the local and mid-term congressional elections gave recognition finally gave recognition to it. However, her term had allegations of fraud, coercion, and vote-buying. Her first term had fractions of coalition politics and mutiny by the military. In July 2003, she declared a nationwide state of rebellion for a month. Therefore, they had to file charges against 1,000 individuals. She said that she would not run in the 2004 election, but she did and got re-elected. With her 6-year term as president, she had more assurance with the economic and political reform agendas they had to stall during her 1st term.

Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III – He is a former senator and son of Cory, and Benigno Aquino won the elections on May 10, 2010. He officially became the president on June 20, 2010. Noynoy is honest with a high satisfaction rating from the public. During this term, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona went through an impeachment trial in 2011 for not declaring his assets, and senators and congressmen had corruption charges. Aquino continued to get rid of the corrupt people in the government. According to the present constitution, he cannot run again for another term.

Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte – Davao City’s former mayor, who is popular for his work against crime and illegal drugs, won the elections on May 9. He is currently the president of the Philippines until his term ends in 2022. For more information about starting a business in the Philippines, contact us.

History of the Philippines